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Shoe Review: Altra Rivera

The women's Altra Rivera running shoe

The all-new Altra Rivera gives you the signature Altra fit and feel in a more tailored package than other shoes in their lineup.

Looking from the top down, Altra shoes have a more rectangular looking toe box, which better mimics the shape of your foot. The shape allows your foot to expand and contract naturally with each step. Altra calls this the FootShape Toe Box.

The Rivera maintains the FootShape fit and other typical Altra tech. What sets it apart, though, is its sleeker look. The lower profile silhouette and simple upper give the Rivera a clean, modern aesthetic.

Fleet Feet reviewers tested the Altra Rivera to get a feel for the brand new shoe. Here’s what they thought.

Tech specs

Altra Rivera

Weight

6.9 oz (W), 9.1 oz (M)

Drop

0 mm

Stack height

26 mm

Category

Neutral

Use

Everyday training

Surface

Road, track

Streamlined Look, Sleeker Fit

The women's Altra Rivera running shoe in blue

The Altra Rivera is a classic looking running shoe that delivers a clean silhouette and tailored fit.

Fleet Feet reviewers liked Rivera's easygoing looks and comfortable feel that includes a simple, clean mesh upper with a subtle pattern and soft color scheme. One reviewer says it provides a soft step-in feel, although the mesh doesn’t have much stretch to it.

“The mesh feels soft and breathable,” she says. “I also like the padding in the tongue. That gives it a soft fit all around.”

Altra builds its running shoes around its FootShape Toe Box. The more foot-like shape allows your toes to relax inside the shoe and spread out when you land, leading to a more comfortable run.

The Rivera maintains that same technology, but testers say it delivers a slightly narrower fit than some other Altra running shoes.

“The length is perfect, but it feels a little narrower than the Altra Lone Peak that I’m used to,” one reviewer says. “This gives it a sleeker appearance, and it could be a good compromise for those who are in between a standard width and wide sizes, like 2E for men.”

EGO Midsole Promotes Peppy Ride

The women's Altra Rivera running shoe in purple

Altra outfitted the Rivera with its proven EGO foam midsole that prioritizes responsiveness for a quick step while maintaining the protection of a thick cushion to make the most of your miles on pavement.

Along with the FootShape Toe Box, the other signature Altra attribute in the Rivera is its Balanced Cushioning platform. Balanced Cushioning is Altra’s name for a zero-drop—or 0 mm drop—stance, which means your forefoot and heel are the same height off the ground.

Other running shoe brands design shoes with a range of different drops; popular models range anywhere from 4 mm to 12 mm. The 0 mm drop of Altra shoes, though, can take some getting used to.

The Rivera was the first pair of zero-drop shoes for one Fleet Feet tester, and she says she had to ease into the experience.

“Since I’m new to zero drop shoes, I approached these by running just a few miles at a time,” she says. “For my very first run I felt some aching in my arches for the first two miles. But once I stopped and stretched out, I didn’t feel that anymore for the rest of my run.”

Some runners prefer the zero-drop platform because it can help encourage a midfoot strike, which can feel better for some people. Paired with the EGO midsole, the Rivera lets you feel your steps so you can keep tabs on your form.

“I get a really nice sense of ground contact in the Rivera, which is useful for monitoring my form, but I still feel protected from the impact of the ground,” one tester says.

While the zero-drop stance might feel different at first, the Rivera sports a 26 mm stack height, which provides good cushioning underfoot for running on pavement.

Another reviewer liked the firmer ride. It gave him a little more pop off the ground than in super soft shoes, he says.

“The cushioning is pretty springy,” he says. “It’s firmer than other shoes I’ve worn, which helps avoid the feeling of digging out of each step.”

Altra added rubber to the outsole to improve the shoe’s durability and increase traction; testers didn’t have any trouble on wet pavement. Plus, a grid of grooves etched into the outsole allow for a natural flexibility through your entire transition.

“The midsole shape offers a smooth transition with just the right amount of flexibility in the forefoot and stability in the heel,” according to one tester. “The traction is also excellent for a road shoe. The grippy outsole gives me a sense of surefootedness on a wet, rainy day.”

Final Thoughts

The Altra Rivera running shoe

The Altra Rivera delivers a clean look, easy style and responsive ride for miles and miles on pavement.

A soft and smooth mesh upper gives the shoe a simple look, which Fleet Feet reviewers love, and the Altra EGO midsole provides protective cushioning for running on hard surfaces. The grippy rubber outsole gives the shoe excellent traction, and the zero-drop platform feels natural.

While the Rivera still employs Altra’s FootShape Toe Box, testers say it provides a snugger fit than other Altra running shoes they’ve worn. So, if you’re used to the traditional Altra fit, try the Rivera on first to see how it works for you.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

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